INDIANAPOLIS — The idea that sport keeps you young is a sentiment shared among athletes across the board. Many compete for the sense of personal achievement and resilience while others use it as a means to find family and shared motivation. For new masters athlete Bryan Glass (Springfield, Ill.), it’s each of these, and his 40th birthday couldn’t have come soon enough.
In October 2013, Glass finally earned the distinction of a masters athlete, and he impressed the field in his first masters event, winning the 2013 USA Track & Field Masters 15 km (49:17.00) Oct. 23 in Tulsa, Okla. He also set the masters record at the Canal Connection 10k (31:44) in Utica, Ill., and finished top 25 at the Quad City Times Bix 7 in Davenport, Iowa.
“My goal every year is to be in the top 25,” said Glass. “It is quite an honor for such a big race that brings in a lot of stellar competition.”
Glass, an avid runner and the cross country coach at Rochester High School in Rochester, Ill., finished second at the 2013 Abe’s Amble 10km (32:08) at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The 40-year-old Glass picked up road racing in his late 20s and joined the Michelob Ultra team out of St. Louis, Mo., 10 years ago. While he took in the camaraderie and family of the team environment, he says, “they definitely played a part in me continuing road racing.”
Glass found the sport of running by chance as a discouraged athlete whose high school did not offer soccer. Devastated, his group of friends compromised and his love for running grew.
He ran at SIU Edwardsville, where he set the freshman record in the 8 km (25:27), a time not surpassed until 2012.
“That’s what it’s all about,” said Glass. “If you want to do well in life you have to explore the unknown and explore limitations you never thought you even had. It’s very hard for these high school runners to know what they are capable of; I want to show them what they are capable of.”
After college, he struggled with burn out for a couple years before he was ready to take a more leisurely approach in the quality of running versus the quantity of mileage.
“I like to enjoy running and push my myself to the limit,” said Glass. “That’s really what opened my eyes to the road racing scene.”
Glass started coaching high school runners in 2010 and decided to keep his individual endeavors very low key. He wanted the focus to be on the achievements of the student-athletes, his kids.
“Of course, you can’t hide what you do all the time,” said the coach. “In order to run the .US 15k Championships, I had to miss their regionals. Not only did I become victorious, but they also walked away with a title of their own.
“My love has always been to coach cross country and I love it,” he continued. “Our girls ended up second in the state and I ended up hurting myself in the process. Hoping to be able to snap out of it and put up a strong performance this weekend.”
Approaching the .US National Road Racing Championships in Alexandria, Va., this weekend, Glass is hopeful.
“This week I have one goal in mind,” he said. “Despite the fact that I hurt myself a couple weekends ago, my goal is to PR in the 12 km. I think it is the only race I can still PR in. Whatever happens other than that doesn’t even matter. I just want to set my own personal record.”
“Other than for God, I do run for my kids because I know that they see what I do, so it’s important for them to see that I practice what I preach. I coach because they are my family...I put in a lot for them, and there is a lot of sacrifice there. To be honest, I don’t know how long I would have kept running without them.”
Like he always tells his kids, “To experience personal triumph in personal victory you must endure the race.”
Be sure to catch the .US National Road Racing Championships on USATF.tv beginning at 7:15 a.m. Sunday.
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